Movie Title: Beyond the Veil
Release Date: March 3, 2023
Creators: Nadine Ibrahim and Sifa Asani Gowon
Duration: 41 minutes
Cast: Jemima Osunde, Maryam Booth, Norah Ego, Ummi Baba Ahmed, Ame Aiyejina, Norbert Young, Habiba Zock-Sock, Yakubu Mohammed, Rikadawa Rabiu and Caleb Richard.
Whether it’s morally sound movies like The Two Aishas or the family-friendly comedy-drama sequel The Kujus Again, diversity is becoming the norm in Nollywood.
Although it still has a long way to go, especially in its representation of other tribal groups beyond the popular three, indigenous filmmakers are more than ever promoting the authenticity of Nigerian stories through diverse stories.
Among these various storylines is the inclusion of bold female leads that viewers have seen grow up in series like Flawsome, Unmarried, The Women and, most recently, Beyond the Veil.
There’s something about watching a group of friends navigate through the complexities of life that makes viewers want to laugh, cry, and scream into their pillows. Beyond the Veil offers a roller coaster of emotions and a new kind of friendship that has yet to be accurately represented in the mainstream media: the relationship between five Muslim women from the north.
Aside from its use of a conservative point of view in telling the stories of women living in an environment filled with patriarchal rules, Beyond the Veil is aesthetically pleasing to the eye in a way that every scene seems well thought out. (ie attention to detail was paid).
beyond the veil
However, the potential of the series is not belittled by an utterly poor script or bad cinematography; it’s the producer’s choice not to give him the marketing efforts he desperately needs. Beyond the Veil is almost like a hidden gem that requires strong word of mouth to thrive among the Nigerian audience.
A Sip of Tea (plot)
In the first episode, we are introduced to our five leads: Na’ima (Jemima Osunde), a self-care expert who runs a spa and suffers from insomnia; Badriya (Norah Ego), an influencer in need of self-love; Zainab (Ame Aiyejina), the security staff of an Hon. Jemima (Ummi Baba Ahmed) who puts on a solid front; Hanifa (Maryam Booth), an artist hoping to break free of her husband’s clutches; and Surrayah (Habiba Zock-Sock), an herbalist still reeling from a failed marriage.
What started as a typical day soon turns into dramatic events as Na’ima wakes up from a nightmare, Badriya receives cryptic messages from a secret admirer, Zainab gets caught up in a web of love with her boss’s son, Kassim (Caleb Richard), and Hanifa faces backlash from her husband after proposing the idea of enrolling their youngest daughter in a school.
The following scenes follow the ladies as they struggle to find approval from others and from within; one of them receives shocking revelations about the man in her dreams; one confronts her husband about her role as a homemaker; one dismisses the idea of finding true love; and the latter suffers a mental breakdown.
Beyond the Veil portrays a believable portrayal of female friendship; walk a fine line between exaggerating and keeping things as real as possible. While the focus is on the ladies’ pool, we’re made to root for the characters not only for their interesting backstories but also for their flaws.
This brings us to the characterization, as it is noted that the ladies have different traits that amply explain the motives behind the actions they perform. At the start of the series, there is also hope for major character developments, drawing viewers in to be a part of the journey.
The outstanding performances by the actors, especially Caleb Richard and Ame Aiyejina, do not detract from the beautiful scenery which is visually appealing. The locations could be described as charming as they can compel a person to book a one way ticket to Abuja.
The Amazon Prime series also does a decent job of cleverly merging indigenous and western elements. As mentioned above, Beyond the Veil takes a conservative approach as a storyteller, resonating with how things occur in the northern part of the country. But it also features western elements like dialogue, its location, and its story.
Another factor that makes the series watchable is that the costumes were quite spectacular, giving a glimmer of hope that if the producers ever decided to create a clothing collection, they would have an available audience.
Beyond the Veil is another Nollywood series that falls victim to a drag story. There were unnecessary scenes that could have easily been cut in the editing room. A good example would be the market scene, which could have been easily avoided as it had no substantial effect on plot progression.
There’s no doubt that the actors brought their A-game to the screen, but it’s not enough to make up for the amateurish performances from some of them. One of the protagonists could not take advantage of his path in the way that was expected.
Lastly, a lot of things were happening. The writer tried to focus on all the characters in each episode, accidentally putting a lot of events in the viewers’ faces. This made it difficult to keep up with the history of each character, leading to a bit of confusion.
8/10. Beyond the Veil is a great effort, earning praise for its exploration of diverse characters.
Beyond the Veil is now showing on Amazon Prime Video.